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In 1994, with help from The Carter Center and its partners, Kenya became one of the first endemic countries to halt transmission of Guinea worm disease. The partnership forged for better health continued through the Center's observation of Kenyan elections.

Waging Peace

Carter Center observers found problems with the Kenya electoral commission's use of technology and tabulation of final election results in March 2013 but determined the results reflected the will of voters.

+Monitoring Elections

2017 Elections

View Carter Center election reports for Kenya >

The Carter Center’s international election observation mission to Kenya’s Aug. 8 general election included more than 100 observers from 34 countries and was led by John Kerry, former U.S. secretary of state, and Dr. Aminata Touré, former prime minister of Senegal.

On election day, the people of Kenya showed remarkable patience and resolve, waiting in line for hours to exercise their right to vote. The Carter Center reported in its initial statement that while voting and counting processes had functioned relatively smoothly, there had been problems in the tallying and transmission of results. It called for calm and urged those with disputes to take their cases to the court. Second-place finisher Raila Odinga did so, claiming fraud, and Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified the results of the presidential election. Though the court did not say fraud had occurred, it pointed to numerous irregularities that affected the integrity of the election.

Kenya’s key players invited the Center to observe the fresh election on Oct. 26.

After Odinga declared he was pulling out of the race and urged his supporters to boycott the polls, The Center ultimately decided to launch only a limited mission with 10 long-term observers and a core team of experts.

Turnout was exceedingly low – around 38 percent of registered voters – and incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta won with 98 percent of the vote.

The Carter Center said that the fresh presidential election was not fully competitive and marked by insecurity and political uncertainty. It called for national dialogue and reconciliation process to heal political and tribal rifts that were made worse by the 2017 elections.

2013 Elections

A 60-person Carter Center delegation found that despite serious shortcomings in Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's management of technology and tabulation of final election results, results from the March 4, 2013, presidential and parliamentary election reflected the will of voters. The Center launched its election observation mission to Kenya in January 2013 by deploying teams of long-term observers to assess pre-election preparations, as well as legal and political developments.

2002 Elections

Breaking a 34-year political hold by the ruling party in Kenya, a former ally of the longtime president won the presidency in a milestone election that The Carter Center observed to be open and competitive despite some irregularities.

Mwai Kibaki, a former finance minister, was elected to succeed President Daniel arap Moi, who was president for 24 years before Kenya's constitution forbade him from running again.

Although there were incidents of violence and political intimidation during the 2002 campaign season, the election was conducted calmly. Thousands of enthusiastic voters formed long lines at polling centers.

Carter Center observers, led by former Zambia President Kenneth Kaunda and then Carter Center Associate Executive Director Gordon Streeb, visited more than 200 polling stations in Nairobi and six provinces on election day. The Center praised Kenyan citizens for their peaceful participation and the Electoral Commission of Kenya for their determination during a new process.

The Center commended the Electoral Commission of Kenya for enforcing the Electoral Code of Conduct by handing down judgments in several cases of bribery, attempted rigging, and violent rivalry among political parties. The Electoral Commission further ensured a fair election by openly tabulating ballots in the polling station and following strict procedures at the tally centers.

Fighting Disease

The Carter Center assisted Kenya's Ministry of Health in finding and containing all of the country's cases of Guinea worm disease and preventing new ones. 

+Eradicating Guinea Worm Disease

Current Status: Transmission stopped, 1994

Certification of Dracunculiasis Elimination: 2018

Current Guinea worm case reports >

From 1993 to 1994, Kenya's Ministry of Health conducted village-by-village searches for cases of Guinea worm disease in districts adjacent to its borders with Uganda and Sudan, areas thought to be at greatest risk for having endemic disease. A total of 53 cases of Guinea worm disease, most of them imported from Sudan, were found in the Turkana and West Pokot districts of Kenya.

A reliable disease-reporting system was developed by the Ministry of Health with assistance from the World Health Organization. In 1995, Kenya reported only 23 cases of Guinea worm disease, all imported from Sudan, then the most endemic Guinea worm country in the world. With the West Pokot district reporting no indigenous cases in 1994, Kenya became one of the first countries in the world to stop transmission of Guinea worm disease since the campaign began in 1986.

Kenya was honored at a special ceremony at The Carter Center in Atlanta in 2000 for having stopped Guinea worm disease transmission.

After submitting the necessary documentation and hosting an inspection visit, Kenya in 2018 finally received certification from the WHO that it had eliminated Guinea worm disease.

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